Everything to know about your first trimester: advice, lists, and what not to do

OMG- it’s happening!! You’re pregnant and just beginning the wild ride that is growing a baby. 9 months from now, you’ll be a pro at this whole thing, but for now we’re going to run down the basics for getting started on your pregnancy journey. 

During the next 2ish months (most women find out they’re pregnant during weeks four to seven), you’ll experience lots of changes, make tons of decisions and even get to see your little one for the very first time. It’s a busy time and we’re here to save you *some* Googling by providing advice, tips, and answers to the most important things to know during your first trimester.

Big changes in the first trimester

Well, some big and some not so big. The times are a-changing and we’ll help you keep up, from what you should change about your routines to what you can (or can’t) eat. 

What do I need to change about my day-to-day?

You may feel like your entire life needs to change now that there’s a baby inside of you, but that’s not entirely true. Pregnant women are actually capable of doing many of the things they would normally do in their routines with some minor adjustments. 

In general, you will be able to keep up your normal workout regimen, whatever that activity level may be. In this guide to staying healthy during pregnancy, we dove into how to get your blood pumping in safe ways and avoid activities that could be harmful to you or the baby while pregnant. 

You’ll also want to monitor your stress levels more carefully while pregnant, because high blood pressure, headaches, sleeping problems, and other side effects of stress can harm your baby or just leave your body ill-equipped for taking on this pregnancy. Speaking of sleep, you’ve probably heard that you’re not supposed to sleep in certain positions while you’re pregnant. Good news: you’re all good to keep sleeping in your normal positions for now, even if you’re a stomach sleeper. Things get tricky when your bump is heavier and nothing is comfortable. Just cross that bridge in a few months and enjoy sleeping however you want for now.

Finally, you’ll want to check out the ingredients in your skincare routine, makeup, and any medications you’re regularly taking to ensure they’re safe for pregnancy. As a general rule of thumb, switching to more natural products or ones made specifically with pregnant mothers in mind, like this body oil, can be a safe choice to ensure your baby’s health. Some quick Googling or just a message to your doctor can tell you if your regular products are pregnancy-approved. Here are a few popular things we usually see doctors recommend against:

What foods should I avoid in my first trimester? 

This question has many answers, depending on who you ask. Even different OBGYNs have different guidelines for what pregnant moms should or shouldn’t consume. Some doctors may give you a huge, long list of foods to avoid during your first appointment while others may just advise you to use your best judgment. This gets tricky when you *just* found out you’re pregnant and won’t get to have your first appointment for a few more weeks. Our biggest recommendation is to message or call your doctor’s office, get their advice, then decide what you’re comfortable with from there. The internet, and all the very opinionated voices on it, will give you all sorts of advice, but when it comes down to it, medical advice should really only come from a trusted medical professional. 

That being said, let’s talk about some of the hot topics on the “foods to avoid in pregnancy” scene. We went to a trustworthy source, The American Pregnancy Association, to find their list of things to avoid. They recommend against consuming: 

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Things get heated in this conversation because, the truth is, all moms are doing what they think is best for their baby. Some pregnant moms completely avoid the things listed above because there’s a chance they could harm their baby. Other moms-to-be choose to consume things on this list because the actual chances of these things causing harm to their baby is usually low. 

Like many of the decisions you’ll make in pregnancy and parenthood, no two parents will make the exact same choices. Welcome to motherhood, where you’ll have one friend who won’t touch a piece of brie her whole pregnancy and another who thinks a glass of wine here and there is just fine. You need to decide for yourself (again, along with your doctor’s advice) where you’ll fall on that spectrum. 

So, that’s the skinny on what you can eat — but here’s what you’ll *want* to eat in your first trimester. Many women feel nauseous at some point in their first trimester and finding food you actually want to eat can be difficult. If you’re at a loss for something that will taste good, try our list of first trimester foods to keep in mind.

Wait… when does this happen?

You know lots of stuff happens during pregnancy; the question is, when? Do you start your registry now? When do you have to have your birth plan ready? Don’t worry, you don’t have to do either of those things yet; but there are a few timing things you should have on your radar:

When do I start prenatal appointments?

Most medical practices will schedule your first prenatal appointment around the 8-10 week mark of your pregnancy, which is also 8-10 weeks after the first day of your last period. This can feel like forever when you can’t wait to talk to someone about your pregnancy, but remember you can always message or call your doctor with specific questions you have in the meantime before your first appointment.

Don’t worry if you’re not exactly sure how far along you are. Before you get to see a doctor, many moms will be scheduled for their first ultrasound, sometimes called a dating or viability ultrasound, which is when a technician verifies that you are pregnant, when your estimated due date will be and how far along you are based on baby’s size. This ultrasound usually happens around 7-8 weeks. 

Pro tip: Keep a list in your notes app of questions you want to ask your doctor during your prenatal appointments!

When do I have to start wearing pregnancy clothes?

For most first time moms, the bump won’t start showing until the second trimester. For some moms who are on their second or more pregnancy, they may start showing near the end of their first trimester. However, just because your bump is showing, doesn’t mean you *have* to start wearing pregnancy clothes. 

Often, your bump starts out as bloating or just a slightly more sensitive belly (you won’t want restricting clothes on it). Shop your own closet  for clothes that may work during your pregnancy before you start stocking up on maternity pieces you may or may not need. Plus, we have some handy gear that helps you extend your current closet, so you can stay in your own clothes longer. 

Cooling Crossover Nursing Bra

A stretchy, soft option for tender breasts.

The Bellaband

Keep your pants up even if zipping them is getting uncomfy.

Cooling Layering Cami

A perfectly tuckable layer to help your belly feel protected and covered.

When can I tell people I’m pregnant?

Any damn time you want. But seriously, this is up to you. Traditionally, moms are advised to wait until they’re in their second trimester to make any pregnancy announcements, because of the risk of miscarriage in your first trimester. Waiting to announce your pregnancy can be a protective measure for your own mental health, in that if your pregnancy does not continue past the first trimester, you won’t have to update as many people with the sad news. 

This really comes down to your personal preference. If you’re just so excited to be pregnant that you want the world to know, go ahead and announce when you’d like. If you’d prefer privacy as you wait to get through the first trimester, just tell your partner or closest family members. 

What changes in my body should I expect in my first trimester?

For many moms, the first can be the hardest trimester because of all the drastic changes you experience. Almost overnight, you’ll begin feeling nausea, which may or may not be in the morning despite what you’ve probably heard about morning sickness!! Another common first trimester symptom is fatigue, so start adding naps into your daily schedule (don’t mind if we do).

Aside from these symptoms, your body won’t look that different from the start to end of your first trimester. You may feel that your belly looks a little bloated, and tight clothes may no longer be comfortable, but, again, you won’t have that noticeable baby bump until your second trimester. Most first tri moms do notice breast tenderness as one of their first symptoms, so you may want to ditch underwire for the time being (see: the stretchy, comfy bra we linked above and thank us later).

When should I start taking a prenatal vitamin?

As soon as you see those double pink lines! Prenatal vitamins deliver amazing nutrients to your growing baby as well as supplying your own body with the necessary extra vitamins to help support your system as you grow a tiny human. Most doctors will tell you to make sure your prenatal contains iron and folic acid, so check for those vital ingredients!

Pro tip: Don’t stock up on one single prenatal brand at once, because you may find the taste of your prenatals repulsive after a few months. Pregnancy taste buds are fickle and oh-so picky!